News blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf neighborhood

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Found: Black Lab with no collar

March 19th, 2016 by Mike

Steph emails:

We found a black lab with no collar and are looking for his owner. We currently have him in our backyard.

Please call 206.420.1585

Our neighbor ran him up to maple leaf vet to see if he is chipped. We’re at 8th ave NE @104th.

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About that flashing red light at NE 95th St.

March 17th, 2016 by Mike

For those who’ve been wondering about the flashing red light at Roosevelt Way Northeast and Northeast 95th Street:

“The wind storm caused an outage and the controller at this intersection had a difficult time restoring from the loss of power. We ended up having to replace the controller yesterday in the afternoon,” the Seattle transportation department reports this morning.

For those who haven’t, the pedestrian-activated red light at that intersection suddenly turned on as a flashing red light after this weekend’s windstorm.

Traditionally that makes it a four-way stop, except that the lights only face north and south on Roosevelt. Which created some confusion.

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We’re Number One (in car prowls)

March 15th, 2016 by Mike

Seattle Police, over at Nextdoor, today posted:

“To date there have been almost 3,000 car prowls in the city for 2016. This number is up more than 500 from last year.”

In an accompanying graphic, police have identified the top 12 sites to get your car prowled.

Northgate Mall led all the rest with 17 prowls; downtown came in second with 11.

As it happens, this is actual news. Northgate has long been a hot spot, but Capitol Hill was the leader two years ago.

Police have tips on not being a victim:

(more…)

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What is Councilwoman Debora Juarez thinking?

March 14th, 2016 by Mike

Note that the original question – what went wrong with the March 1 vote? – remains.

The six City Council members sitting next to one another at this table on March 1 either could or couldn’t count to six.

Update: Councilwoman Juarez’s staff has sent me a statement (!). Here it is:

“After careful deliberation, today I voted yes on legislation which removed restrictions on $1.4 million of $5 million previously budgeted for the Pronto system by council vote in November of 2015. Today’s action allowed the Executive to purchase the bike share system’s assets from Pronto.

Had this proposal failed, the city would have been obligated to repay $1 million in federal grant money and the three thousand yearly members of our bike share system would be left without a service they paid into.

The introduction of the Pronto bike share system in Seattle has faced serious problems since its launch in October 2014. I share the concerns of Seattleites who look at our major challenges citywide and debate whether money should be spent on a program that has so far not lived up to expectations. This is why I also voted for the successful amendments to the final ordinance that significantly increase council oversight and accountability for this program.

I am looking forward to enhancing the transparency, service area equity, and overall vision of bike share in Seattle. Today’s action gives us the best chance at achieving this goal.”

– Councilmember Debora Juarez, March 14, 2016

Update: She voted “yes” to save Pronto. The full council voted 7-2 in favor, with Maple Leaf’s other councilman, Rob Johnson, also voting yes. Opposed were Lisa Herbold (west Seattle/South Park) and Tim Burgess (at large).

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On the first day of the month a Seattle City Council committee deadlocked 3-3 on bailing out the failing Pronto bike rental service.

Except it didn’t.

The record now reads that newly elected Councilwoman Debora Juarez, who represents north Seattle including virtually all of Maple Leaf,  actually voted to save the system.

That was not the vote announced at the meeting and heard by the six council members present, and by support staff.

What happened?

A week ago today, on Monday, March 7,  we emailed Juarez’s legislative assistant, BrynDel Swift (bryndel.swift@seattle.gov), to ask.

We’re following the Pronto vote and I’ve been keeping an eye out for Councilwoman Juarez’s statement on her vote last Tuesday. Somehow I’ve missed it, but am quite interested. Can you provide? Thanks.

No answer.

So two days later on Wednesday, March 9th, we forwarded the email to the rest of her staff, Mercedes Elizalde (mercedes.elizalde@seattle.gov), Tyler Emsky (tyler.emsky@seattle.gov) , Sabrina Bolieu (sabrina.bolieu@seattle.gov), and to Juarez herself (debora.juarez@seattle.gov).

No answer. And we haven’t seen it answered elsewhere, either. (Except, kind of, here.)

Our earlier post on Pronto, including updated links to other news organizations’ stories, is here.

In comments there, and elsewhere, Pronto seems to have become a stand-in for how the city prioritizes its spending.

An example: In Danny Westneat’s Seattle Times column last week on a Greenwood food bank closing for lack of city funding, one commentator wrote:

Explain how the city has millions of dollars to spend on a bloated failed bike share program which most citizens don’t want or use while this needed food bank program is shut down. Misguided priorities and lack of common sense.

And another:

OK Debora Juarez: Here’s where you show you’re the adult in the room. Instead of voting yes on that losing proposition Pronto how about using those funds to keep this food bank going? Things like food banks are important. Pronto is just a Murray dream that ends up being a nightmare for everyone else. I had great hopes for you when I cast my ballot for you but now I’m not so sure. So far all I’ve seen from you is more of the same council we had before the election.

The full City Council vote on Pronto is set for this afternoon.

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“Make sure you have batteries!” Sunday storm

March 12th, 2016 by Mike

Update Sunday March 13:

5  p.m.: Map is back. 51,000.

4:30 p.m. The Seattle City Light outage map appears to be down.

2 p.m. Lights flickering. Up by Northgate, 4,400 without power. Citywide, 28,000 41,000 46,000 48,000 out.

Winds at Maple Leaf Life South to 34 40 51 mph.

Cliff Mass: Windstorm Update: Could This Be a Big Fizzle over Puget Sound?

Today’s weather: Roily.

“Showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 1 p.m. Steady temperature around 48. South wind 14 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.”

Sunday’s weather: “Make sure you have batteries!” (Cliff Mass – Sunday Windstorm.)

The National Weather Service – Seattle has issued a high wind watch beginning Sunday afternoon.

WINDS…SOUTH TO SOUTHWEST WINDS 20 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 60 MPH ARE POSSIBLE.

*IMPACTS…FAIRLY WIDESPREAD POWER OUTAGES AND DOWNED TREES ARE POSSIBLE, ALONG WITH SOME DAMAGE TO BUILDINGS.

Timing: Sunday afternoon through late Sunday night.

Winds hit 39 mph here during Thursday’s storm. Thousands lost power.

Cliff Mass: “Bottom line: The south/central coast will get hit hard, with gusts reaching 50-70 mph. For Puget Sound, it will probably be similar to the storm of this week, but it could be worse.”

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‘Show Greenwood Some Love’ and other ways to help Greenwood businesses and neighbors

March 11th, 2016 by Mike

Brenda emails:

Reading about the explosion in Greenwood and how it has severally impacted those business made me think it would be great if the Maple Leaf neighborhood put together some kind of a fund raiser to support the Greenwood neighborhood. Maple Leaf Life is such a great communication tool. Perhaps we could put out the idea and see what kind of response we can get and if anyone wanted to head it up.

Certainly a good thought if folks want to make it happen.

There is a central locus for collection efforts. From our sister site PhinneyWood, which posted it Thursday:

The Phinney Neighborhood Association set up a special donation page. Donations are tax-deductible and 100% will go to help affected businesses. If you don’t want to donate online, checks can be made out to Phinney Neighborhood Association with “Greenwood disaster relief” in the memo and sent to: PNA – Greenwood Relief Fund, 6532 Phinney Ave. N. Seattle, WA 98103. (more…)

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Power lost in NE Maple Leaf during wind storm

March 10th, 2016 by Mike

Update 8:13 a.m.: Wind gust to 35 mph.

Update: City Lights estimates power returns around 8:30 a.m. For updates go to the utility’s outage map.

Power was lost at 5 a.m. to over 3,400 neighbors in the northeast part of Maple Leaf and up into Pinehurst.

Winds at the time were blowing up to 39 mph as measured here at Maple Leaf Life South. (Rain = 1.15″.)

Shortly before 6 a.m., Seattle City Light has 3,544 customers without power, most of them here.

In the broader area, Puget Sound Energy reports over 43,000 without power.

The Seattle Times is updating a regional story.

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Updates on bus service, Roosevelt Way work

March 9th, 2016 by Mike

Is your bus route changing?

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Over at Re-think Green, Julia has done a lot of work on the changes coming to our bus service as the University Light Rail station opens later this month.

This post is for my peeps who ride Metro (or may want to ride Metro) in the North part of Northeast Seattle. I’m talking ‘bout Lake City, Olympic Hills, Jackson Park, Pinehurst, Northgate, and Maple Leaf. My hood.

Her specific post is here: Metro Changes: A summary for Northgate & Lake City. (The short take, I think, is that many routes that now go downtown will go instead to the light rail station.)

Meanwhile, the Seattle Bike Blog has reported on the extensive work coming to Roosevelt Way this year from Northeast 65th Street to the University Bridge.

Major work to repave Roosevelt Way and rebuild it with transit, biking and walking improvements starts March 14, SDOT says.

That report is here: Work starts soon on major Roosevelt Way repaving & redesign, will last most of 2016.

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UPDATE: Stolen cars, including a Northgate carjacking

March 8th, 2016 by Mike

Update March 9: Kevin emails this morning to report two hit-and-run sideswipes.

Last night around 1:30 a.m., near the intersection of 20th Avenue Northeast @ Northeast 88th Street, a vehicle ( possibly a black Honda Civic) side swiped both my wife’s and my cars , leaving extensive damage. A police report has been filed.

My neighbor mentioned he heard the incident, but got to the window too late to see the car involved. He did mention however, that a woman walking her dog was in the middle of the street and may have witnessed the collisions.

Wondering if you could reach out to your readers to see if any one else on 20th Avenue was hit and/or if we can locate this woman and get her to come forward with any detail she may be able to provide.

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A neighbor emails today that a stolen car was abandoned in a carport in the 9800 block of Fifth Avenue Northeast.

A fellow tenant had left a note on the car’s windshield, asking the owner to move it. This Honda had no license plates and looked as if it had been hit on the driver’s side; the exterior rear-view mirror on that side was hanging down and the doors were unlocked.

Police determined the car had been stolen a month previously.

The map below shows stolen cars in the Maple Leaf area so far this year, according to police reports. There are several dozen of them.

In addition, more information is now available on a carjacker who was arrested last week after stealing a Lexus from Northgate Mall at the end of February. From police:

Detectives believe the 18-year-old suspect approached the woman around 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 29th, as she was getting out of her car in the Northgate parking lot.

The teen demanded the woman’s keys and told her he had a gun. He then climbed into the woman’s car, joined by a second male suspect, and sped off.

Two days later, on March 1st, police received a report of a hit-and-run at Aurora Avenue North and North 50th Street,  after the same silver Lexus smashed into two other cars and drove off.

A witness followed the Lexus to North 63rd Street and West Greenlake Way North, where the 18-year-old driver and his female passenger bailed out of the car and took off running.

Officers found the suspect and his passenger–his 17-year-old girlfriend–at North 61st Street and Linden Avenue North.

Police found the Lexus’s key in the 18-year-old’s pocket and booked him into the King County Jail for robbery, auto theft and a felony warrant. Officers also booked his girlfriend into the Youth Service Center for auto theft.

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A splendid sunset, followed by a wet week

March 7th, 2016 by Mike

The National Weather Service in Seattle this afternoon issued a special weather statement:

Wet and wetter.

By Wednesday night:

STRONG WINDS ARE POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF WESTERN WASHINGTON WEDNESDAY NIGHT. A STRONG FRONT AND LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM IS LIKELY TO AFFECT THE REGION. HEAVY RAIN IS POSSIBLE FOR THE OLYMPIC MOUNTAINS AND A MIX OF SNOW AND RAIN WILL FALL IN THE CASCADE PASSES. THE MOST LIKELY AREA FOR STRONG WINDS IS THE COAST AND THE NORTH INTERIOR AND STRONG WINDS COULD CONTINUE INTO THURSDAY MORNING.

Other than that: Rain, rain, rain and rain.

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UPDATE: Seattle Council can’t count. Pronto bike program still muddles on – will the new City Council districts make a difference?

March 2nd, 2016 by Mike

Update March 10: Since folks are still commenting on this:

The Seattle Times’ Brier Dudley has a piece much discussed on talk radio: Pronto alternative: bike ownership.

And Publicola’s Josh Feit has a rebuttal: A Bike Policy for Adults.

Off-topic, but about biking, the Seattle Bike Blog has a post slamming sharrows, but also sort-of explaining them. (“The sharrow is the city’s most prolific graffiti tag.”)

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Update Thursday afternoon: Two days after the fact, The Seattle Times has a new story saying the city claims Tuesday’s vote on Pronto was not in fact split 3-3 but actually favored bailing out Pronto 4-2 because:

1) Councilwoman Debora Juarez, who represents Maple Leaf and north Seattle, actually voted “aye.”

2) Committee chair Mike O’Brien, a Pronto backer, counted wrong.

The story is here: Seattle council panel’s Pronto vote wasn’t an even split, after all.

Though Juarez didn’t contest O’Brien’s take at the time, she actually voted “Aye,” which means the real result was 4-2 in favor of buying the struggling bike-sharing program for $1.4 million. That’s what the council’s official record now shows.

With a 3-3 tie, the plan to rescue Pronto would have gone to the full council March 14 with no recommendation from the committee. The 4-2 result means there will be a recommendation that the full council vote to prop up the program.

SeattleBikeBlog has posted here.

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Pronto – Seattle’s bike renting program which will go broke at month’s end (and would already be insolvent if the city hadn’t spent nearly a third of a million dollars bailing it out at the turn of the year) – is still adrift.

On Tuesday the city’s transportation committee – now called the “Sustainability & Transportation Committee” – split  3-3 on whether Pronto should be saved for another $1.4 million.

(Editorial snark: The old public safety committee is now named the “Gender Equity, Safe Communities & New Americans Committee. We originally thought public safety might have become the new “Human Services & Public Health Committee,” but perhaps that’s the one saddled with The Jungle, another place to watch how the new council functions.)

Our interest in Pronto is not so much in whether it’s useful to Maple Leaf and the north end – it’s not, unless you take a bus or, soon, light rail, downtown – but in its politics.

How will Seattle City Council members, newly elected by district to represent specific neighborhoods, vote?

In this case, Debora Juarez, who represents the north end’s Council District 5, including most of Maple Leaf, voted on Tuesday against the buyout.

Councilman Rob Johnson, who represents Maple Leaf’s southern toe and points south in District 4, is an enthusiastic “yes,” and has posted such on the City’s web site: Why investing in bike-share matters.

For more about districts citywide, go here.

The Seattle Times has coverage of Tuesday’s meeting here: City Council can’t make up its mind over saving bike-share program.

Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who chairs the committee, voted for purchase, as did Rob Johnson and Kshama Sawant. Councilmembers Lisa Herbold, Tim Burgess and Debora Juarez voted against the plan.

O’Brien represents Northwest Seattle, Sawant represents the Central District.

Herbold represents West Seattle/South Park, Burgess’ district covers the entire city. (more…)

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UPDATE: Wind, rain knock out power momentarily

March 1st, 2016 by Mike

March 2nd: Tuesday’s night’s downed tree is being removed from Eighth Avenue Northeast just north of Northeast 92nd Street.

Update:

Lightning strike on 8th by Olympic View Elementary felled a big tree in a back yard. 3 cop cars.

James Ratzliff ‏@jermainiac 56m56 minutes ago

@MapleLeafLife Power out at QFC Northgate. Also traffic lights on NG Way at Roosevelt and 15th Ave NE.

Update 4:15 p.m.

Much of the area around Maple Leaf has lost power.

Seattle City Light says there are currently just over 6,000 customers without power in the city.

In all of western Washington that number is closer to 50,000 75,000.

Wind gusts here hit 33 mph at 2:21 p.m.

Incidentally, Cliff Mass says that as of 1 p.m., Seattle officially has its wettest winter ever.

Here at Maple Leaf Life South, a quarter-inch of rain has fallen since this morning, on top of .41 inches overnight and Leap Day.

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The lights flickered at 2:09 p.m., then again, then darkness. Back, now.

Winds to 26 mph at 2:06 p.m.

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Why didn’t police respond to 911 calls?

February 28th, 2016 by Mike

KING 5 TV tweeted this weekend that Seattle Police will investigate why police entirely failed to investigate multiple 911 calls about a crash at Lake City Way Northeast and Northeast 20th Street.

A car crash during an evening rush hour last month left two drivers angry and frustrated after Seattle Police failed to respond to their repeated calls to 911. Both drivers told dispatchers they thought the man who caused the accident was drunk and they feared he could hurt or even kill someone if he left the scene.

It’s certainly not the first time here.

The King 5 story is here. The incident occurred Jan. 14th.

Frustrated by the lack of response from the 911 center, Aspelund tracked down a phone number of the Seattle Police Department North Precinct, located about 2.5 miles from the crash site. She said the officer who answered was no help at all, telling her that unless there was a horrible accident police were unlikely to respond and recommending she take up her complaint with city leaders.

The reaction so far has not been supportive:

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Police identify suspect, weapon in officer-involved shooting

February 22nd, 2016 by Mike

Update Feb. 25th: “Black lives matter” protesters downtown demand criminal charges, resignation of police chief.

Update Feb. 23rd. Seattle NAACP calls shooting cold-blooded murder. The Seattle Times has the story here.


Police this afternoon released the identity of the suspect shot and killed by police on Sunday afternoon.

Around 3:30 p.m.police were conducting surveillance in the 2200 block of Northeast 85th Street as part of an ongoing investigation. Officers observed a man with a holstered handgun, and identified him as Che Taylor, 46, a convicted violent felon, legally prohibited from possessing a handgun. Taylor’s criminal history includes convictions for assault, robbery and rape.

At approximately 4:15 p.m., officers called for additional units to assist in taking the suspect into custody. As Taylor stood at the passenger door of a white Ford Taurus, a marked patrol vehicle with emergency lights on pulled up facing the Taurus.

An SPD arrest team then approached the vehicle to take Taylor into custody. Officers ordered Taylor to show his hands and get on the ground. He did not follow officers’ commands, and instead leaned into the Taurus.

According to officers, as well as a civilian witness interviewed by investigators, Taylor reached for his handgun, leading officers to fire.

Officers detained the other two people in the car and called for medics. Police performed CPR on Taylor at the scene until medics arrived. He later died at Harborview Medical Center.

Detectives are still serving warrants as part of the investigation, but have recovered Taylor’s firearm, When Taylor arrived at Harborview Medical Center, he was carrying approximately 6 ounces of suspected crack cocaine and black tar heroin. Officers booked one of the other people in the vehicle into the King County Jail for possession of a significant quantity of suspected heroin.

SPD Force Investigators and the department Chaplain met with the Taylor family Sunday night. Chief Kathleen O’Toole has also been in contact with numerous community leaders to brief them on the incident.

You can see the video here.

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Man shot at NE 85th, 20th Ave. NE UPDATE Officers involved

February 21st, 2016 by Mike

Update: The suspect has died.

Seattle Police have issued a news release:

Officer Involved Shooting After Confrontation In Wedgwood Neighborhood

Written by Public Affairs on February 21, 2016 5:13 pm

Seattle Police Force Investigation detectives are investigating an officer involved shooting that occurred in the Wedgwood neighborhood late this afternoon.

Officers from the North Precinct were investigating a suspicious car in the 2100 block of NE 85th St. around 3:45 p.m. when officers spotted a known felon who was clearly armed. Officers contacted the man who refused commands. Two officers fired at the suspect during the confrontation.

Seattle Fire medics provided emergency care to the suspect and transported him to Harborview Medical Center. The suspect’s injuries appear to be life-threatening.

As per SPD policy, designed in collaboration with the Department of Justice, detectives from the Force Investigation Team and Crime Scene Investigators are on-scene with representatives from the Office of Professional Accountability to collect evidence and review the incident.

Per department policy, the officer involved in the shooting will be placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

This is a developing incident and we will update this post with additional information as it becomes available

Update 1:

Harborview Medical Center staff have confirmed that the suspect has died of his injuries.

This is still a very active investigation. As additional information becomes available, we will continue to share it publicly.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call the Force Investigation Team directly at 206 684-9292.

Our news partner The Seattle Times is updating here.

(more…)

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